Earthmade Foods

Importance of Biodiversity and Biocentrism

Let’s talk about Magnificent Microbiomes and why they are the best real estate to invest in!

Microorganisms (also called microbes, including bacteria, fungi, viruses, archaea, etc.) are everywhere. Typically invisible to the naked eye, they live in and on plants, animals, water, soil, food and humans. Within each of those habitats, microorganisms form communities called ‘microbiomes.’

Microbiomes have many essential functions in the environments they live in, and are so important to maintain the balance and health of their environment. For example, trillions of microorganisms live in and on our body (skin, mouth, lungs, intestines, etc.) where they actively help protect us from infections by fighting off bad bacteria, among other things. They also help us digest food, and produce vitamins and hormones that are essential for our health.

Microbiomes can also be found in the soil, where they help plants to grow. They do this by fixing nitrogen in the soil and converting it into a form that plants can use for growth. Together microbiomes are actively contributing to clean environments, sustaining food systems, mitigating climate change and keeping people healthy.

It may be hard to envision what a microbiome looks like, so a Harvard study provided this unique metaphor: “Picture a bustling city on a weekday morning, the sidewalks flooded with people rushing to get to work or to appointments. Now imagine this at a microscopic level and you have an idea of what the microbiome looks like inside our bodies, consisting of trillions of microorganisms of thousands of different species.” (Source https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/microbiome/)

The microbiome is often labeled a supporting organ because it plays so many key roles in promoting the smooth daily operations of the human body. Each person has an entirely unique network of microbiota that is originally determined by one’s DNA. A person is first exposed to microorganisms as an infant, during delivery in the birth canal and through the mother’s breast milk. Later on, environmental exposures and diet can change one’s microbiome to be either beneficial to health or place one at greater risk for disease.

The microbiome consists of microbes that are both helpful and potentially harmful. Most are symbiotic (where both the human body and microbiota benefit) and some, in smaller numbers, are pathogenic (promoting disease). In a healthy body, pathogenic and symbiotic microbiota coexist without problems. But if there is a disturbance in that balance—brought on by infectious illnesses, certain diets, or the prolonged use of antibiotics or other bacteria-destroying medications—dysbiosis occurs, stopping these normal interactions. As a result, the body may become more susceptible to disease.

Now that we are up-to-date on what the microbiome is, and how a healthy gut microbiome benefits the body, let’s talk about the impact of environmental chemicals on the gut microbiome. Since the surge of microbiome research in the last decade, many studies have provided insight into the causes and consequences of changes in the gut microbiota.

Among the multiple factors involved in regulating the microbiome, exogenous factors such as diet and environmental chemicals have been shown to alter the gut microbiome significantly.
Although diet substantially contributes to changes in the gut microbiome, environmental chemicals are major contaminants in our food and are often overlooked.

Major classes of environmental chemicals (bisphenols, phthalates, persistent organic pollutants, heavy metals, and pesticides) impact the gut microbiome, which includes alterations in microbial composition, gene expression, function, and health effects in the host. Health-related implications of gut microbial changes can include changes in metabolism, immunity, and neurological function.


Heavy metals are natural, high-density elements found in the Earth’s crust and are highly toxic even at low concentrations. Several studies have examined the impact of heavy metals, such as lead, cadmium, arsenic, and mercury on the gut microbiome, which have reduced diversity of gut microbiota and altered the metabolism of many pathways, including vitamin E, bile acid, and nitrogen metabolism.


Pesticides, which include insecticides, herbicides, and fungicides, are used globally to aid in food production. Although pesticides are generally highly toxic to target species through mechanisms that may not initially affect humans, many pesticides ARE toxic to humans and wildlife through other mechanisms, including endocrine disruption. Recent studies on environmentally relevant doses of pesticides have revealed the long-term consequences of the environmental metabolites of legacy pesticides as well as the harms of their replacements, especially on organ systems including the gut. Studies in adults across multiple species using a wide range of insecticides, fungicides, and herbicides show alterations of the gut microbiome as well as other common effects, including altered lipid metabolism, inflammation, and oxidative stress.

Collectively, the existing data suggest that exposure to environmental chemicals like heavy metals and pesticides during various stages of life causes alterations in the gut microbiome and is associated with changes in health, including immune dysfunction, altered carbohydrate and lipid metabolism, and neurobehavioral impairments.

Celebrate World Microbiome Day! June 27th is World Microbiome Day! On this day we celebrate all things microbial, and organizers strive to share how important microbes are for the health of humans, animals, plants, oceans, and the entire planet. However, the importance of World Microbiome Day doesn’t just end on June 27th. The mission is a bottom-up movement that aims to educate and empower everyone with knowledge of the microbiome. The goal is to introduce international microbiome researchers and microbiome‐literate professionals to the public to raise awareness of the vibrant and diverse world of microbes and we invite the public and industry professionals to share their thoughts and activities with the microbiome community.

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Mike Dobbins

CEO, Vicentia

Mike Dobbins is developing bio inputs to replace pesticides, herbicides and chemical fertilizers. His mission is to give farmers the tools they need to produce 100% chemical free food at the scale needed to feed the 9.8 billion people that will soon inhabit the earth. “If you want to look after biodiversity, and you want to improve our soil health, and you want to improve our chronic illness growth, we have to have NO chemicals. And in all fairness there has not been, on a worldwide basis, a solution to the problem.



A few years ago, Walmart embarked on a journey to become a regenerative company, dedicated to placing nature and humanity at the center of their business. As part of their commitment, they recently partnered with GEM Pack Berries, and will be distributing the first crops ever to be grown using an innovative cultivation method that eliminates the need for pesticides and soil-damaging heavy metals… game-changing strawberries from Earthmade. In keeping with environmentally friendly practices aimed at minimizing transportation distances, Earthmade strawberries are available in select Walmart locations in Southern California’s Ventura County.

Duda Farm Fresh Foods

The Duda family has been growing fresh fruits and vegetables for nearly 100 years. It all started with Andrew Duda, who had just 40 acres of farmland, and his sights set on the American Dream. Now, six generations later, the Duda family continues this legacy by bringing their farm-fresh products to a restaurant or grocery store near you and ultimately, your kitchen table. Among their responsible farming practices, Duda has graciously partnered with Earthmade in running chemical-free farming trials on celery.

Gath Farms

Gath Farms has a strong foundation of four generations dedicated to the land. They base their business on relationships, and understand the importance of face-to-face business practices built on honesty and integrity. Working together to build and grow their own successful farming operation provides the foundation upon which they can help others grow their operations, increase their profits and protect the land for generations to come. Gath Farms has partnered with Earthmade to run trials of chemical-free farming on commodities such as corn and soybeans.

GEM Pack Berries

With an eye on the future, an ace coalition of California farmers known as GEM Pack Berries long ago embraced the organic farming practices standardized in the late 1980s. When they banded together in 2015, they wanted to find even more sustainable, soil friendly methods. They soon partnered with Vicentia, which was conducting innovative research on developing a special kind of good bacteria as a substitute to both artificial and heavy metal-based pesticides. GEM Pack understood that, if Vicentia scientists were successful, their advancements could solve a long list of health, agricultural, sustainability, and environmental issues. GEM Pack allocated a sizable plot of farming land so Vicentia bioscientists could conduct multi-year research on the cultivation of multiple commodities.


Australian bioscience company Vicentia’s bio inputs have not only protected crops all around the world from pests that prey on them; they also eliminated the need for heavy metals, which have been found to affect the biofertility of the soil. Better yet, these revolutionary innovations could be adopted by farmers everywhere to grow all varieties of crops, thereby potentially transforming currently problematic farming practices into healthy, earth regenerating, sustainable practices. Vicentia’s groundbreaking solution also lowered production costs while maintaining or increasing yield and crop quality. Today, Vicentia’s regenerative agricultural advances are being trialed in seven countries.

Howard Shapiro


Howard Shapiro has made it his life mission to understand the health of our plant. He has been involved with sustainable agricultural and agroforestry systems, pattern recognition, plant breeding, molecular biology and genetics for over 40 years. He has worked with indigenous communities, NGO’s, governmental agencies and the private sector around the world. A former university professor for 15 years, Fulbright Scholar, Ford Foundation Fellow, Fellow of the World Agroforestry Center, Chairperson of the External Advisory Board of the Agriculture Sustainability Institute at UC Davis, and numerous additional accolades, Shapiro has certainly proved he has the experience and vast knowledge of the very critical status of the world’s agricultural crisis.
mark gath

Mark Gath

Owner, Gath Farms

Mark Gath is the owner of Gath Farms, and comes from a multi-generational line of mid-western farmers and growers. As a cancer survivor (brought on by years of chemical-reliant farming), Gath has been a champion of non-chemical farming and agriculture practices. He enthusiastically grows chemical-free corn on his Arizona farm, andis running chemical-free trials of soybeans on his mid-west farms.

Carlos Meza

Bioscientist, Vicentia Farmer

Carlos is an organic farmer and bioscientist hailing from Chile, where he was one of the first certified organic exporters in the 1990s. Disturbed by the amount of chemicals that are still widely used in certified organic systems, he’s developing fully biological alternatives to chemical pesticides and herbicides. These bio inputs harness the power of naturally occurring microbes to naturally control pests. Carlos’ vision is to remove all chemicals and heavy metals from conventional and organic farming systems.

A.G. Kawamura

Owner, Orange County Produce, LLC

A.G. Kawamura is the former Secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture. He is a third generation fruit and vegetable grower from Orange County. He is co-chair of Solutions From the Land, a non-profit organization that collaborates with farmers, ranchers, foresters and stakeholders to implement climate smart land management practices and strategies.

Mike Etchandy

Owner, Etchandy Farms Co-Owner, GEM-Pack Berries

Mike Etchandy is a fourth generation organic and conventional Orange County strawberry farmer. Jaded by the ambiguous organic certification system and the heavy metals it relies on, he has been testing new bio inputs on his strawberry fields to reduce his dependence on harmful chemicals.